Roy’s Square Mile period had bracketed his daughters’ childhoods and the central plank years of his marriage: he had worked there from 1987 to 2008 and then an empty box had been placed on his desk. Goodbye Roy Illtud Paine, you no longer exist; deleted by market movements and their ineffable mysteries. From the spare room at home, currently housing the printer and computer, Roy had tried and failed to make himself exist again among the glass towers and medieval streets, applying for positions here, there and anywhere. But he was 53 and therefore as good as dead.
After a month he’d bought a piece of hardboard and painted on it: Please Help Me. I Want To Work. For one full week he’d stood on the pavement on London Bridge facing the rush hour pedestrian tides, his placard propped in front of him, handing out fliers containing his cv. He’d seen people he vaguely knew, who’d looked away. Kristie had asked him: “Why are you doing this, Roy?” He’d sort of known, but wished he hadn’t. Sad.
He found it difficult these days to look back on those 21 City of London years without unsettling memories floating up from depths he hadn’t known were there. One broke surface as he watched Sharapova cruise through the second round: an after work pub conversation about her curious cries.
“Sounds like Sharapova’s getting a spanking,” a man called Marcus remarked.
“She could do with one,” a fellow called Gavin replied.
Roy had chuckled, as you did – a necessary concession to the social climate he found himself in. Then he thought again about Joanne Brown. Did she remember what had happened between them? If they met again, what ever would he say to her?
All previous instalments of Roy’s Summer of Sport are HERE.
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